Bibliographic Instruction Bibliography

The following bibliography is an ongoing project of the Instruction Section's Education for Library Instructors Committee. New annotated entries will be added periodically.



  • Avery, Chris and Kevin Ketchner. "Do Instruction Skills Impress Employers?" College and Research Libraries 57 (May 1996): 249-258.

    Several members of the ACRL Instruction Section's Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee conducted a pilot project to investigate the perceived importance of library instruction skills to employers and whether instruction experience or course work is important in getting a job for which library instruction is a stated responsibility. Results indicate that library instruction is viewed as an important service and that employers do consider skills or instruction experience in the hiring process.

  • Budd, John. "Librarians are Teachers." Library Journal (Oct. 15, 1982): 1944-1946.

    Budd states that reference librarians play an important teaching role, not only as bibliographic instructors, but as part of their provision of reference service. He defines teaching as presenting information in a systematic and orderly fashion, in its simplest sense, and in more complex situations, as "illuminating, elaborating, questioning, and evaluating," arguing that a good reference interview can include one or both of these activities. Like teachers, reference librarians must use judgment in dealing with patrons and demonstrate an understanding of the content of a wide variety of resources.

  • Butler, Helen. "The Library in Education." Review of Educational Research 12 (June 1942): 323-335.

    The article is a bibliographic essay covering research to 1942 about the educational value of libraries in schools, colleges and universities and about issues related to library service in public and educational settings. Two sections most interesting to instruction advocates are those for "Teaching the Use of Books and Libraries" and "Philosophy and Objectives of the Library in Education."

  • Dudley, Miriam. "A Philosophy or Library Instruction." Research Strategies 1 (spring 1983): 58-63.

    Dudley, one of the pioneers in the field of library instruction, answers questions about why instruction of users is important, who should be taught, when and where. She suggests that we teach users and also each other. It is important to share our knowledge and our tools. She exhorts librarians to teach now and always and in any place.

  • Ellsworth, Ralph E. "The Contribution of the Library in Improving Instruction." Library Journal 94 (May 15, 1969): 1955-1957.

    Ellsworth argues that academic libraries can make important contributions to the instructional mission of the university if they have sufficient funds for buildings, collections, and staff, if university administrators plan ahead and set priorities for the institution's research and instructional efforts, if the faculty updates its teaching methods to allow more students inquiry, and if the university uses the new learning technologies.

  • Ferstl, Kenneth L. "Not Just Librarians, But Teachers, Too!" Catholic Library World 59 (July/August 1987): 16-18.

    Ferstl explores the role of librarians as teachers in school and public library settings. He defines teaching as causing one "to acquire knowledge or skill, usually with the imparting of incidental information and the giving of incidental help and encouragement." Using this definition, Ferstl describes the school librarian's role in providing instruction, in curriculum and instructional development, and in guiding and teaching students. He looks closely at the public librarian's role in programming for very young children and in one-on-one services to adults doing research. He talks about the efforts of public librarians in leading discussion groups and describes the ways librarians can foster learning and interaction for adults in group settings.

  • Hardesty, Larry and John Mark Tucker.

    "An Uncertain Crusade: The History of Library User Instruction in a Changing Educational Environment." In Academic Librarianship: Past, Present, and Future: a Festschrift in Honor of David Kaser, edited by John Richardson, Jr. and Jinnie Y. Davis, 87-111. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1989.

  • Hogan, Sharon. "Training and Education of Library Instruction Librarians." Library Trends 29 (Summer 1980): 105-126.

    Hogan discusses the movement among instructional librarians to obtain specialized education and training for instructors. She argues that most of the movement to 1980 has resulted in a strong program of continuing education, supported by a wealth of literature on instruction, and the beginnings of in-service training programs in individual libraries. Hogan describes the themes of continuing education and the changes in the content of continuing education over the years. She discusses the less than successful efforts of librarians to see bibliographic instruction taught in library schools noting that library school administrators have viewed BI as a fad and a topic that could be handled in other courses. Hogan ends the article by noting the disadvantages of using continuing education as the major method of educating instruction librarians and calling for lib rary educators to acknowledge bibliographic instruction as a vital central component of library public service programs by including education for BI in the library school curriculum.

  • Hopkins, Frances L. "A Century of Bibliographic Instruction: Professional and Academic Legitimacy." College and Research Libraries 43 (May 1982): 192-198.

    The author reviews the social and intellectual history of bibliographic instruction and reference work, asserting that early librarians did not have the proper training to be successful at instruction. She notes that library instruction, as it has existed in the 20th century through the 1970's has focused largely on the practical--teaching students to access library materials. In the 1980's library instruction has begun to be focused on teaching concepts and how information is used in the discipline. She suggests that bibliographic instruction can play an integrative role in uniting increasingly specialized disciplines and deserves a more central role in librarianship.

  • Information for a New Age: Redefining the Librarian. Edited by the Library Instruction Round Table of the American Library Association. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1995.

    This work is a collection of essays by both newcomers and well-known professionals such as Mignon Adams, Evan Farber, Carol Kuhlthau, Cerise Oberman, Virginia Tiefel and others. These information professionals share their thoughts, opinions and recommendations to answer the question "how do we continue to develop relevant instruction in a rapidly changing information environment?" The full text of ALA's 1989 Presidential Committee Final Report on Information Literacy is included as well as examples of how others have incorporated information technology into library instruction. Each essay ends with extensive notes and references that lead the reader further into the topics presented. In addition the book closes with an annotated bibliography on a variety of topics such as technology, libraries and the future; technology and information literacy; technology and remote users; and human-machine interface.

  • Kenney, David J. "Assessing Library Instruction: Where It Has Been and Where Is It Taking Us?" Catholic Library World 59 (July/August 1987): 39-42.

    Kenney asserts that library instruction is essential to lifelong learning. He describes the two current major theoretical bases for library instruction--teaching concepts rather than tools and teaching information problem solving. He identifies the benefits of library instruction such as economic benefits, educational benefits, the ability to provide opportunities for learning to all students, and the professional benefits for librarians.

  • Keresztesi, Michael . "Bibliographic Instruction in the 80's and Beyond." In Directions for the Decade: Librarianship in the 1980's, edited by Carolyn Kirkendall, 41-49. Ann Arbor, MI: Pierian Press, 1981.

    The author argues that the success of bibliographic instruction in academic libraries is determined by our success in working with the faculty to foster "bibliographic culture." Bibliographic culture includes three areas: respect for the library; effective use of library resources for education, research, culture, and recreation; and acceptance of librarians as equal partners in a joint intellectual enterprise. To reach this point, librarians and faculty (particularly in the sciences) must understand each other. Librarians must understand the discipline as a knowledge producing and disseminating system, and faculty need to learn to see the structure of bibliography as an information apparatus. For these things to happen, librarians and faculty must work together to develop a theory of bibliography. Keresztesi begins the education process for librarians by describing in detail the knowledge-producing apparatus of scientific disciplines.

  • Kirk, Thomas G. "Past, Present, and Future of Library Instruction." Southeastern Librarian 27 (Spring 1987) : 15-18.

    Kirk reviews the history and present condition of library instruction in the United States. He defines orientation, library instruction, and bibliographic instruction. He also defines the seven stages of implementation of library instruction and describes the position of each type of library on that track, paying particular attention to academic libraries. Kirk concludes that the concept of library instruction is not new, but that its nature has been changed by changes in libraries. He endsw ith four predictions about the future of library instruction.

  • Oberman, Cerise. "Library Instruction: Concepts & Pedagogy in the Electronic Environment." RQ 35 (Spring 1996): 315-323.

    Oberman argues that instruction librarians must prepare users, in the context of the electronic library environment, to evaluate the information they find and to understand and use the power of information. She advocates a return to teaching concepts of information access, retrieval and evaluation and critical thinking skills. At the same time, she asserts that librarians must be prepared to alter the existing concepts of information retrieval and to add new concepts.

  • Shonrock, Diana D. and Craig Mulder. "Instruction Librarians: Acquiring the Proficiencies Critical to Their Work." College & Research Libraries 54 (March 1993): 137-49.

    Research based on the 1988 survey designed and conducted by the ACRL Bibliographic Instruction Section's Education for Bibliographic Instruction Committee to identify the required proficiencies of instruction librarians. This initial survey had respondents evaluate the importance of 84 bibliographic instruction skills in thirteen different categories. This work served as a basis for the author's second survey discussed in the article.

  • Simmon-Welburn, Janice. "Alternative Models for Instruction in the Academic Library: Another View of the Upside of Downsizing." In the Upside of Downsizing: Using Library Instruction to Cope, edited by Cheryl LaGuardia, Stella Bentley, and Janet Martorana, 15-23. New York: Neal-Schuman, 1995.

    Simmon-Welburn introduces the concept of "post-bibliographic instruction" as a means to rethink the way libraries provide instructional services. She defines post-bibliographic instruction as a pedagogy that focuses on the practical needs of the user and is driven by the rapid changes in information technology. She argues that user-centered instruction should help the information seeker to find information without having to know special formulas or esoteric search practices. Simmon-Welburn asserts that such instruction cannot be based on traditional classroom teaching styles, but must consider three approaches: collaborative, experiential group instruction in an electronic classroom; instruction at the point of need, and the use of electronic information networks to users at remote sites.


  • Breivik, Patricia Senn and E. Gordon Gee. Information Literacy: Revolution in the Library. New York: American Council on Education and Macmillan Inc., 1989.

    The authors organized the national symposium "Libraries and the Search for Academic Excellence" at Columbia University in 1987 which was the first higher education meeting to focus on the role of libraries in the educational process. Breivik and Gee discuss the concepts of the library as an active partner in the search for academic excellence, and a more imaginative use of academic libraries as part of the educational process.

  • Coping with Information Illiteracy: Bibliographic Instruction for the Information Age. Edited by Glenn E. Mensching and Teresa B. Mensching. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Pierian Press, 1989.

    This book is a collection of articles, symposia, instructional sessions, poster session abstracts, discussion group handouts and sample materials from the 17th National LOEX Library Instruction Conference held in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1989. The conference focused on problems generated by the information explosion and included a symposium on short-term versus long-term instruction goals. Topics covered include information literacy and education; computer literacy, information literacy and the role of the instruction librarian; integrating active learning into the one-hour session; and transforming the ACRL Model Statement of Objectives into a working tool.

  • Ford, Barbara J. "Information Literacy: ALA's Stand on Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning." College & Research Libraries News 50 (November 1989): 892-893.

    The "Final Report of the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy" (January 1989) issued many impressive recommendations for libraries and librarians. Among them was restructuring the learning process to one that is based on resources available for the information needs that arise throughout an individual's lifetime. The article summarizes the Committee's definition of an "information literate person."

  • Isbell, Dennis and Carol Hammond. "Information Literacy Competencies." College & Research Libraries News 54 (June 1993): 325-327.

    This article discusses the ways ASU West's document "Information Literacy Compete ncies for Students" has been used as a successful BI marketing tool and as a way librarians have established common curricular goals with faculty. More importantly, a single document serves as a BI program fact sheet, goal statement, and outcome measurement tool. This document is reproduced in the article.

  • MacAdam, Barbara. "Information Literacy: Models for the Curriculum" College & Research Libraries News 51 (November 1990): 948-951.

    MacAdam leads off with the ALA User Instruction for Information Literacy Committee's January 1990 definition of information literacy. She goes on to describe two courses developed at the University of Michigan that attempt to incorporate information literacy curriculum goals. One was for Communication majors and the other for a graduate library science course. The article concludes with several tasks librarians need to address if their goal is creating library users who are information literate.

  • Nibley, Elizabeth. "The Use of Metaphor in Bibliographic Instruction." RQ 30 (Spring 1991): 343-347.

    How can BI librarians add "style to their class presentation? Nibley suggests that one way to help make library class instruction more interesting to students is the use of literary style, or figurative speech. Nibley's article provides insightful examples of figurative speech adopted by teaching faculty in different disciplines.


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